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Shubhiksha GV, Pune

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin launched the ‘Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme’ on August 25. Under this scheme, breakfast will be provided for primary school children across all urban and rural government schools in Tamil Nadu.

The Ministry of Social Welfare and Women’s Empowerment first announced the scheme. This directive was allocated Rs. 404.4 crore and scheduled from July 15, 2023, to March 2024. 31,008 schools, comprising approximately 15 lakh students, will be covered under this scheme.

CM Stalin took part in the initiative at a government school in Thirukuvalai in Nagappattinam district. The CM was seen eating breakfast with the students of that school. In Chennai, the initiative was launched by Udhayanidhi Stalin, Minister of Sports, Youth Development, and Special Projects, at his assembly constituency, Triplicane.

The meals are valued at Rs. 12.71 per day per student. These meals are also directed to be prepared on school premises. Local Body Governments in municipalities, corporations, and town panchayats are assigned to oversee the project aimed at improving the health quality of young children and encouraging enrollment in government schools. While the welfare ministry will directly take responsibility for the schools in rural areas.

Of the allotted Rs. 404.4 crore, Rs. 340.5 crore has been segregated for food expenses (170 days), Rs. 43.38 crore for cooking requirements like utensils, and Rs. 19.96 for LPG. The remainder amount is said to be utilised for administration. 

The official website of the ministry has charted a common menu for the weekdays. Types of Upma, Khichadi, Pongal, and Sweet will be served in the week’s order. The site specifies, “The quantity of raw material will be 50 grams per child per day. Locally available millet-based breakfasts should also be utilised for at least two days a week. This will ensure approximately 293.40 calories of energy, 9.85 grams of Protein, 5.91 grams of Fat, 1.64 grams of iron, and 20.41 grams of calcium for each child.”